how many bingos did I get? | #latinxbookbingo wrap up

by - 12:28 PM

 

Hello friends! Yesterday officially concluded the #LatinxBookBingo and I'm so sad to see it end. This readathon has introduced so many new and amazing Latinx authors to my radar and it's a friendly reminder to all of us, myself especially, to be reading Latinx stories more than just one month in a year. 

If you would like to add some Latinx books to your shelves, check out my wonderful friend Sofia's (@ BookishWandress) posts! She has an amazing curation of Latinx book-related posts and even has this massive list of recommendations tied to the bingo prompts if you're looking for specific themes.

The best part of this readathon (other than the books of course) was seeing everyone's updates and reactions to the books they read. While I had a book picked out for every prompt, I only ended up reading five during the readathon - but that just means I have eleven more amazing stories to start in the upcoming months.

gods of jade and shadow by silvia moreno-garcia - book recommended by a latinx reader
A journey inspired by Mayan mythology and set in the Jazz Age, Gods of Jade and Shadow has been so highly recommended all over my Twitter feed. This was my first foray into Silvia Moreno-Garcia's writing and all the hype around her descriptive style served true. As our main characters Casiopea and Hun-Kamé embark on their quest to win back Hun-Kamé's throne, the writing seems to explode with the color and culture they encounter along the way. The mythology itself with Xibalba, the World Tree, and Middleworld was woven so intricately with the plot that it just transports the reader into the historical timeline.

I cannot talk about this book without address the absolute yearning that exists in this story. There's something beautiful and aching about Casiopea and Hun-Kamé's relationship from their unconventional meeting to Hun-Kamé slowly absorbing more humanity and experiencing love (and other emotions) for the first time. When I say that my heart was hurting throughout the ending, it was this consistent dull pain that stayed with me days after finishing the novel. At moments, I did wish for more relationship growth as there were some moments where the development felt disjointed, but Silvia Moreno-Garcia still manages to make you feel completely enamored with the characters and world. 

Silvia Moreno-Garcia has honestly been all over my social media timelines so I knew from the beginning that I was going to pick up Mexican Gothic sometime in October for the readathon. This is a haunting gothic story with an eerie mansion, a creepy family, and mushrooms. Thank goodness I was never a fan of mushrooms before because after reading this novel I couldn't even bear to look at the fungi without shuddering. The biggest highlighting aspect of the story itself is the atmosphere and the author did such a fantastic job giving me literal chills as I was reading.

The first half of the story follows Noemí trying to figure out how to rescue her cousin from the High Place and her husband's creepy toxic family. There are a lot of subtle hints that allude to the threat but the pacing is relatively slow. Once we hit the 60% mark, secrets are revealed and everything starts tumbling downhill as the sinister nature of the Doyle family. Hidden within the gothic atmosphere is a subliminal message about the exploitation of BIPOC workers by white imperialists such as the Doyles themselves along with the exoticization of BIPOC women. While the mushrooms were disgusting, how the Doyles viewed genetic superiority and "pure" standards of beauty were flat out atrocious. It was a fantastic addition to the story that offered a clear voice about the horrors BIPOC communities have faced under white imperialism. 


tigers, not daugthers by samantha mabry - cover with latinx flag colors
I am definitely stretching this prompt a bit but I desperately wanted to get just one bingo...Technically there are hints of blue, yellow (it's more orange but please let it slide), and red (the tiniest bit) on the cover. Tigers, Not Daughters has been on my radar because the cover itself is absolutely gorgeous but the premise itself sounded incredibly heartbreaking. The Torres sisters have wanted to escape from their San Antonio neighborhood where everyone knows everyone else's business, but after their disastrous first attempt, freedom doesn't seem possible - until Ana, the oldest Torres sister, falls to her death from her window.

The story grapples with the grief of losing Ana and it's a difficult one to read as each sister deals with the loss in a different way. The pacing of the story reflects the family's reluctance to find closure with Ana's death which on one end adds to the atmospheric element but also causes the plot to feel dragged on. There were moments when reading when I couldn't quite place what exactly was the point of the plot because it was hidden with grief. I'm not quite sure how to summarize my exact thoughts, but Tigers, Not Daughters handles grief plainly and elegantly. There doesn't seem to a clear conclusion because grief oftentimes doesn't have an ending answer, but there is growth, acceptance, and approaching the future with a new determination.

This book made me so happy. I think I've been reading a lot of stories lately that deal with heavier topics and while they have been amazing, I have missed the warm butterflies and smiling like an idiot. You Had Me At Hola is a romance story that follows two Latinx actors working together to bring a rom-com to the streaming screen. Jasmine and Ashton were absolutely delightful to read about. It has been a while since I've read about characters in their 30s and 40s and it was a change on perspective to see the priorities centered on family and career. They had so much chemistry both on-screen and off the set and that comes with its own flair and drama.

I appreciated seeing Jasmine and Ashton's relationship develop throughout the novel and while there were moments that came off as unnecessary drama due to lack of communication, I was honestly too invested to care. In addition to the romance, the emphasis on family also touched my heart. Jasmine's family was loud and sometimes messy while Ashton's was so precious, but both were supportive in their own way. The unconditional love of their respective families fueled their passion with their career and gave them the freedom to explore and develop as characters. This is one of the stories that just leaves you with a smile on your face and left me wanting to pick up more stories like this in the future.
Technically I finished at 1am on October 16th but I'm counting it anyway. Yadriel has struggled with his family accepting his gender identity ever since coming out as transgender and gay. Part of this relates to his family's heritage as being brujx and the strict gender traditions that prevent him from his quinces ceremony and becoming a full-fledged brujo. Determined to prove his family wrong, Yadriel completes the ceremony on his own and in the process accidentally raises a fellow classmate, Julian, from the dead. This story gave me an intense range of emotions from the witty banter to the heartfelt moments. I've seen all over social media how people have seen themselves represented in Yadriel's story which simply emphasizes the impact Cemetery Boys has.

In addition to addressing the gender stereotypes, the book is rich in Latinx culture and magic. Yadriel's large and slightly chaotic family constantly brings a smile to my face and reminds me of my family at large gatherings. There's a beautiful portrayal of working together as a family to uphold the traditions that make each culture unique but also the adaptability to make the future more accepting of each individual. Going back to the impact of the story, while I could predict certain elements of the plot and the pacing, it doesn't take away from the fact that it is so important to have stories like Cemetery Boys for readers of all ages because of the representation and themes that are addressed.

With a little bit of stretching the rules, I managed to get one bingo! Like I've mentioned throughout the post, I loved this experience and just exploring stories by Latinx authors. I'm currently 25% through Lobizona so hopefully I'll finish it before the end of the month. 

If you participated, please let me know what you read, how many bingos you got, and/or what your favorite Latinx book is?






















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4 Comments

  1. Great job, Riv! I too finished Cemetary Boys recently and it has easily become one of my favourite books of the year. Not only is Aiden Thomas a fiercely talented writer, but the message of the story and the way magic intertwined with it was incredible. I hope you enjoy Lobizona! That was also a recent favourite of mine.

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    1. Cemetery Boys honestly made me so happy!! Hoping I'll get to finish Lobizona soon, I'm glad you loved both of these!

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  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed Mexican Gothic and Gods of Jade and Shadow! I need to read Cementery Boys, I just got the audiobook from the library, so I'm hoping to get to it soon!

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    1. Yayyyy I can't wait to hear what you think of Cemetery Boys!!

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